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1963 Thunderbird Convertible Restomod Project
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:12 pm    Post subject: 1963 Thunderbird Convertible Restomod Project Reply with quote

Thought I'd start a thread for my 1963 Thunderbird convertible restomod project. This is what weíre starting with, a solid 1963 Ford Thunderbird convertible:



My mom had a maroon one with white interior when I was a kid.
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hereís how it looks at the moment:



It's all modern running gear underneath. A 1998 Lincoln Mk VIII was used as the donor. Both the Thunderbird and the Mk VIII are unibody cars and happen to share the same 113 inch wheelbase. The front inner fenders of the Tbird were cut out and replaced with those from the Lincoln. That allowed the engine, front suspension and rack and pinion steering from the Lincoln to bolt in. A cross-member was fabricated for the automatic overdrive transmission and adapters made to mount the Mark's independent rear suspension. Since the wheelbase is the same, the Mark's aluminum driveshaft fits without modification. The air ride has been plumbed up front. Coil springs are currently fitted in the rear but that's just temporary and it will get air bags at the back.


Last edited by Daniel Jones on Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When itís done, I hope it looks more like this 1962 Thunderbird Roadster:



I like the smooth doors and fenders of the 1962 model better than the crease lined 1963 version. Iím told the Ď62 fenders and doors are a direct replacement so I plan to search for a set from a Ď62 and sell my rust free Ď63 bits. Iíve got the fiberglass tonneau cover but will be using different wheels. The Lincoln Mk VIII Iím using as a donor has a different bolt pattern and Iíll likely use 16Ē diameter wheels.
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ď63 has a black interior. Hopefully, it will look as good as this one when Iím finished:

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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here it with the bumpers and drive train removed:




Iíve got a new front bumper and rear bumper ends but the center section of the rear bumper is rough. I need to see if those have been reproduced.
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The inner front fenders of the Mk VIII were cut out and the front suspension cradle removed. After the trial fitting is finished and the shell is off being painted, Iíll install new bushings and any other suspensions and brake parts as needed, then paint the front suspension bits.



The inner fenders, front suspension and engine were mocked up in a coupe to make sure it would all fit before cutting the convertible:



Last edited by Daniel Jones on Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hereís a shot showing the Mk VIII inner fenders being grafted into the Tbird:


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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parts to mount the transmission and Mk VIII independent rear suspension were fabricated:



Brackets were also welded to IRS cradle.



Like the front suspension, the rear will get new bushings and paint and detailing prior to final assembly. Iíll likely install a limited slip unit and shorter gearing, too.
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hereís a shot showing the independent rear suspension mounting brackets installed in the Tbird unibody:



It's fitted with all thread temporarily but suspension bolts of the proper lengths will be substituted. A close up of the rear suspension brackets bolted in the Tbird unibody:

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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once the major fabrication was complete, the shell (with doors, hood, decklid and fenders) were sent to the soda blaster and stripped to a bare frame. Hereís a shot of the shell prior to soda blasting:



And another of it being blasted:



Back from the blaster, the body was primed:

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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hereís the stock engine and transmission from the 1998 Mk VIII:



The 1993 to 1998 Mk VIII engines had split port cylinder heads with two intake ports per cylinder and variable runner length intake manifolds with intake manifold runner controls (IMRC) that switched between the short and long runners. Starting in 1999, the 4.6L DOHC engines got new cylinder heads featuring tumble-style intake ports (one intake port feeding a pair of intake valves) and fixed runner-length intake manifolds. The original plan was to install an intake from a 1996 to 1998 Mustang Cobra, along with long tube headers and call it good. However, I found some better bits and will be cracking open the engine:



Go fast bits include a ported 2001 Cobra Mustang intake manifold (cut apart, ported and welded back together), a Mach 1 lid (maybe a little lower than the Cobra lid?), BBK dual 62mm throttle body, a pair of low mileage 2004 Cobra cylinder heads (better flowing ports) and matching JBA stainless steel shorty headers. I may sell the headers and use the Kooks long tube stainless headers for the Mk VIII which I'm hoping will fit since I'm using the Mk VIII inner fenders and motor mounts. Not shown are a set of Ford Racing FR500 camshafts. Another shot of the parts, this time with the lid off the intake showing the long runners:



Last edited by Daniel Jones on Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:21 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Side shot of trial fitting the drive train:


And another:
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hereís a shot of the Mk VIII inner fenders grafted into the Tbird with the stock Mk VIII engine installed:


And another:


It's scruffy now but will cleaned up later.
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A shot showing the firewall modifications:


The heater core assembly is from a 2003 Mustang.



The hydroboost MC set up from a 1994-1995 Cobra Mustang. Also visible is some of the air-ride plumbing:
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Daniel Jones



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 29
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Radiator, shroud and electric fan are from Mk VIII


The Mk VIII also donated the air conditioning condensor and the power steering cooler:
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